Vocalist Kevin Mahogany has passed away at age 59, reports the Kansas City Star and other sources. A swell of shock and affection began to appear on Facebook pages by Monday afternoon after the news broke.
Kevin Mahogany performed in Denver at KUVO’s 30th anniversary “Live at the Vineyards” event in 2015, along with the H2 Big Band and Dianne Reeves. His discography includes 11 projects in his name. He contributed to dozens of other projects, and toured the world. His latest release was a collaboration on a Polish label (Agora) with vocalist Deborah Brown called “Kansas City Here I Come.”
In the 1996 Robert Altman film “Kansas City,” Mahogany played Big Joe Turner. He also performed in a Clint Eastwood-produced documentary “Eastwood After Hours.”
Before he chose voice as his primary instrument, Mahogany was an accomplished baritone saxophonist. His deep, resonant voice was reminiscent of blues and jazz icon Joe Williams. Still, Mahogany’s timbre and approach was his own. By the 1990s, he was garnering acclaim from the Los Angeles Times (“one of the first truly gifted male vocalists to emerge in years”) and Newsweek (“standout vocalist of his generation”).
Mahogany was a proud Kansas City native. His original composition “Kansas City Born and Bred” proclaimed, “I like my blues to swing and my jazz straight ahead!”